Posts for June 2005

High Speed Street Art

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You've seen them on sidewalks turning out portraits and landscapes at almost impossibly high speeds. In Pall Thayer's "Autodrawn: sketching landscapes seen through my windows," the role of the roadside artist has been usurped by the computer. "Autodrawn" sketches abstract interpretations of real-time traffic camera images as seen through its browser windows. These drawings, composed of muted earthtones, take a few minutes to materialize. Once completed, they remain on the screen for mere seconds before disappearing to make way for a new image. These emerging landscapes are accompanied by music--a blend of synthesizer effects and live police radio. The title of the work is a reference to the German autobahn, that super-freeway without speed limits, and in his artist statement, Thayer explains the site as both a criticism and a celebration of speed-obsessed culture. Thayer recognizes that while freeways are undoubtedly "a constant threat to human life," they are also "an essential element in modern city living." He also notes their architectural intricacy and "aesthetic charm," which make them appropriate subjects for these automatic sketches, even if not as colorful as those of tourists and passersby caught in a pose. - Alex Sadvari

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Have YOU Got Something To Say?

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No matter where you happen to be on Friday, June 3rd, your voice could be heard in the Ohio State University Oval when artist Daniel Jolliffe arrives with his mobile sculpture, "One Free Minute." This colourful technological soapbox disrupts the soundscape of public spaces with acts of improvised, anonymous free speech. To be heard, leave a message, email an MP3 or supply your phone number and be called back to deliver your minute live and on-the-air. One minute samples on the web site include the banal and the riveting, propaganda, activism and deeply personal announcements. The intrusion of private into public brought about by cell phone technology is one of the themes behind the work, as is the blurring of who is saying what. In a political climate where free speech comes with an increasing risk of recrimination, "One Free Minute" boldly reclaims individuals' right to speak. It's also a damn funky interactive aural sculpture with a broadcast range of 150 feet--every town should have one. - Helen Varley Jamieson.

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Wish You Were Here?

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Viennese artist Siegrun Appelt's Moderato Cantabile takes its name from the title of a 1959 novel by French author Marguerite Duras. Appelt distributed this book, itself a meditation on processes of memory and perception, to nine professionals (three artists, a publicist, an architect…), requesting that they read it and return to her exact descriptions of the music room and café central to the story. Video recordings of conversations between Appelt and her collaborators and projections of each described environment, rendered as a 3D digital model, comprised a 2004 installation at Landesgalerie Linz. Now, Moderato Cantabile's transcripts and images are documented online, framed by critics' essays about the project. One essayist muses at the "liberty" he takes by writing about a book he has never read--and exhibition he has never seen (apart from online). In this case, distance and secondhand experience drive Appelt and Duras' ideas, and Moderato Cantabile's new home on the Internet feels like the perfect, murky stage for remembering and forgetting sites and sights constructed by others. - Kevin McGarry

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This Must Be the Place

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Sometimes it takes leaving a place to actually get a good look at it. Yukie Kamiya, Associate Curator at the New Museum in New York, had this notion in mind when she organized City/Observer, an online exhibition that explores urban space through the intimate perspectives - memories, conversations or personal experiences - of six migrant artists. Brooklyn-based Icelandic artist Katrin Sigurdardottir considers the architectural history of her hometown in "Unbuilt Residencies in Reykjavik, 1920-1930" (2005), a blog that documents her fabrication and subsequent destruction of miniature houses modeled after unconsummated plans for residential development in Reykjavik. "Virtual Urban" (2000) traces an email correspondence between Aisling O'Beirn and Marjetica Potrc, in which the two artists discuss a possible collaboration involving their cities of residence, Belfast and Ljubljana respectively, and mull over points of commonality or disjunction, and ways the two areas fit into larger patterns of globalization. Another layer of migration lies in the fact that City/Observer marks the first time that Kamiya and two of the featured artists have worked on the Internet, a foray that offers a fresh take on art practices that cross virtual and off-line spaces. - Lauren Cornell

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Kurating By Numbers

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On the 4th of June, Tate Modern hosted the CURATING, IMMATERIALITY, SYSTEMS symposium to kick off its epochal Open Systems survey show of the conceptual and informatic art that swept the 1960s-70s. The conference acted as the first docking bay for UK-based programmer Grzesiek Sedek and curator Joasia Krysa's open source curating software KURATOR. Drawing on affinity between code art and curatorial praxis, the software tries to redevelop curating as a generative experiment in social relations, within and against an art world that is only beginning to bypass the genteel stultification of curator as the golden alibi of art markets and aesthete-at-large. KURATOR posits "software curating" as a way to distribute curatorial process over networks of people, including artists and others, and finally outwards from the special domain of an individual. It further combats the reification of taste by partially automating many of the traditional metiers that distinguish the curator - selectivity being one. There will be an online panel discussion and public forum touching on KURATOR and many other themes that emerged during the symposium, Monday June 13th, via the Tate's website. - Marina Vishmidt

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Baby Blogging

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“The moon had his own scissors to cut his hair, but one day he lost them. God found these scissors and let them down to the moon on a cord.” This stirring reflection and more can be found on the family JeanRichard blog, which features most specifically the life and times of two young children, Cecile and Dominic. In a mixture of parenting and public art project, the JeanRichard blog presents a playful log of the children's graphic output as well as video of some of their big adventures. Cecile seems strongest in utilizing the 2-Dimensional medium of crayon and paper, while Dominic thrives on camera. His moods and gestures capture the challenges which children face every day in succinct video clips. Many of their collaborative craft projects rework everyday objects into challenging new forms, like sandal spacecrafts and other doll-mobility devices. The blog also includes links to other, mostly Swiss net art sites, art events and web images, but as is usually the case in most settings, the children steal the show. - David Senior

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Rhizome Promotion: Summer Hosting

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This summer, consider buying a virtual sort of timeshare: a web hosting plan from BroadSpire. Rhizome.org has been in business with BroadSpire, a mid-size commercial web hosting provider based in California, for three years now. Not only does BroadSpire host the Rhizome.org site, but Rhizome also earns essential revenue whenever supportive readers like you purchase a BroadSpire hosting plan and mention Rhizome. No matter how much space and services you require, there's bound to be an affordable, reliable plan for you, whether to launch a new project, relocate your homepage or consolidate your web design portfolio. Broadspire offers a Starter plan at $65 per year for 350MB disk storage, 1GB data transfer a month, POP email, free setup and daily content back-ups, and larger plans for those interested in housing E-commerce empires. Anyone seeking refuge this summer in our favorite locale--the Internet--should check out BroadSpire. - Rhizome.org

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Viral Victors Announced

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Now that May's Contagious Media Showdown has concluded, let's diagnose the winning internet infections. Held in conjunction with the Contagious Media exhibit at New York's New Museum, the Showdown hosted websites anonymously designed for maximum spreadability, giving cash awards to top rankers. Grand Prizewinner Forget Me Not Panties, a faked sales site for feminist-unfriendly GPS-tracked underpants, came from behind to trump the simple and enigmatic Crying While Eating, a collection of user-submitted videos of people doing just that, which nabbed prizes in two other categories. Insider link-trading no doubt led to the victory of Bloglebrity, a more or less openly faux magazine site that earned the distinction for most Technorati hits. The viral champions will be feted at a special awards ceremony at Eyebeam on Saturday June 18; in the meantime, kill some minutes at work perusing the full list of contestants and their rankings, available at the Showdown's site. - Ed Halter

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Ships Ahoy

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So, maybe the 2004 ISEA conference cruise didn't signal the beginning of a trend in floating art events, but that doesn't mean a boat isn't an interesting place to experience contemporary art. Navigate, an upcoming four-day presentation of "live art" in England gives participating artists and audiences an aesthetic triathlon that, yes, includes a boat. The three venues Navigate will occupy are BALTIC, the Gateshead-located center for contemporary art; the MS Stubnitz, a German ship docked on the Newcastle side of the River Tyne; and specially commissioned coach tours. The included artists' works span many interests and styles, ranging from Karen Finley's (US) performance of U.S. First Lady Laura Bush's personal dreams to audio-enhanced bus tours of nocturnal Newcastle by the international collective e-Xplo. The festival, which runs from June 30th to July 3rd, was organized by Newcastle-based independent curator Michelle Hirschhorn and area arts organizations BALTIC, Amino and Forma. - Ryan Griffis

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concept.biz

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Veteran conceptual and net artist Peter Luining's new project Art Domains recasts internet domain name trade as a legitimate art practice. Proposing a strategic confluence between the virtual and the lucrative, Luining seeks to capitalise both on slight modifications of existing domain names (whitecube.com becomes whitecube.us, etc.) and on the legacy of conceptual art elders like Mel Bochner, whose "Working Drawings And Other Visible Things On Paper Not Necessarily Meant To Be Viewed As Art" first smuggled informatic ephemera into the gallery space. Luining inflects this canonical ruse by presenting his business plans and outcomes in ring binders perched atop plinths at art fairs and museums worldwide. The project also delivers a jab at the marginalisation of media art within an institutional art world that would barely exist were it not for the domain names that locate it in the Web of all knowledge. Here, Luining engages with e-business as an immaterial economy that can help him both jettison the art object that remains pivotal to the contemporary art market and to reflect on that market's own relationship to immateriality. - Marina Vishmidt

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